Manitou Group – which encompasses not only the Manitou brand but others (including Gehl and Mustang) – has unveiled a new R&D (Research & Development) test centre in Ancenis, France.

It will apparently improve the group’s ability to “perform endurance and durability tests on its products”. In other words, the new test centre has been built to “assess the endurance capabilities of the company’s new prototype machines”.

The project was launched last May; the facility was completed in January (2018) and is now open.

It represents an investment of €1.5 million and includes a special machine driving circuit.

16 employees are based there; they specialise in “driving and test bench maintenance”; their aim is to ultimately “increase the products’ robustness”.

Jean-Yves Auge, R&D director at Manitou Group, explained: “By automating the various test phases, we are able to accelerate the evaluations on our machines to provide our users with ever more reliability.

“This is about certifying the capacity and endurance of all our ranges and our future products. We are fully involved in continuous improvement.”

New machines

In other Manitou news, the company recently unveiled its new pivot-steer (articulated) telescopic handler.

According to Manitou, the new MLA-T has been designed for feeding animals, shifting silage and handling bales. It says that the central positioning and width of the driver’s cab is ideally suited to this type of work – more so than traditional (side-cab) telehandlers.


This machine boasts a maximum lift capacity of 3.3t and a maximum lift height of 5.2m. The chassis employs a ‘2D’ central articulation joint. In conjunction with the machine’s oscillating rear axle, Manitou says that this design enables “impressive stability at full turn”.

With its ‘Intelligent Hydraulics’ (providing features such as ‘Quick Lift’, ‘Bucket Shake’ and ‘Return to Dig’) and ‘Active CRC’ boom suspension, Manitou says that it is a relatively high-spec handler.

Under the hood lurks a 143hp Deutz Tier 4 engine, driving the Vario-Plus hydrostatic CVT transmission.